31 December 2021
Stronger together: How we can all use our Fire Inside to join a new Australian army of helpers
“Never before have we had such an awareness of what we are doing to the planet, and never before have we had the power to do something…” Sir David Attenborough - A Fire Inside.
It’s been two years since of the worst bushfires in our nation’s history and less than a year since the Perth Hills fires and the floods in South-East Queensland and NSW.
But it was our Black Summer that resulted in unprecedented devastation to life and property. And no sooner was the last fire extinguished, a pandemic hit. As a nation, we had little time to take stock of what had transpired, nor celebrate and thank all those who helped. And there were many.
It was against this backdrop that ‘A Fire Inside’ was created. The feature length documentary and accompanying book, made possible by NRMA Insurance creates a forum to share these stories of help and remind everyday Australians of the way our whole country responded. But the questions remained -what have we learnt? What can we do better? And how can we all help to prepare for future disasters.
The answer came while filming the documentary. The Minderoo Foundation – who feature in the film and who created the fire fund in response to the crisis, announced plans to launch the largest army of helpers – The Australian Resilience Corps. ‘A Fire Inside’ thus became the lightning strike to spark that awareness and encourage recruitment. Along with volunteer organisations the commitment is to help create a national movement, to mobilise Australia’s largest contingency of volunteers to prepare and protect Australia from future natural disasters.
At a time when extreme weather events are on the rise due to climate change, shifting the focus on natural disasters from reaction to preparation is critical for saving lives and futureproofing the nation.
In Australia, 97 per cent of all disaster funding is spent after the event, with just three per cent committed to mitigation measures ahead of a natural disaster. The Australian Resilience Corps aims to change that. ARC’s sole purpose to help prepare and protect Australia from fire and flood -with a network of volunteers at the ready. As a founding partner, NRMA Insurance is committed to help connect these volunteers with existing community led organisations, so we can shift the focus from recovery to resilience.
For Adrian Turner- CEO, Minderoo Foundation’s Fire and Flood Resilience Initiative this is personal. He fought to protect his brothers home in Kangaroo Valley during the 2019-2020 fires and saw first-hand that preparation and active land management saved the property.
Resilience modules which can be taken online include everything from landscape management to mental health. People can connect with volunteer organisations aligned with their skills and interests to help communities in need.
ARC aims to provide the opportunity for every Australian to help by coming together to prepare each year for fires and floods thus making our communities resilient to the devastation caused by fires and floods.
There is a fire inside all of us. A burning desire to help. You can find your fire inside and join the National Australian Resilience Corps. Together we can help to create a safer and more resilient Australia.
‘A Fire Inside’ premiers at 9:30pm Monday Dec 13 on Channel 9.